United Kingdom regulators are set to investigate Google following its announcement to remove web browser cookies from its Google Chrome product.
As the BBC reported, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that the plan could have a "significant impact" on news websites and the digital advertising market as personalized ads could vanish once and for all.
"Google's recent announcement that it was phasing out support for third-party cookies on the Chrome browser, restricting publishers' ability to offer personalized advertising, is an important example of this," the report says, as noted from the British Government website.
Google wants to replace them with new tools that limit advertisers, meaning that targeted ads could no longer be around. Google intends only to support first-party cookies used by websites to track activity within its pages and discontinues its support for third-party cookies.
Shady Monopoly Practices
Following the decision, many believe that it could give Google too much power and help the tech giant monopolize the internet.
"Google will effectively control how websites can monetise and operate their business," Marketers for an Open Web (Mow), a coalition made by small tech companies, said as reported by the BBC.
"This means that any business that buys or sells advertising will be reliant on Google for a part of the process, whether they like it or not.
"This will reduce the ability of independent players to compete with Google, strengthening its monopoly control of online commerce."
In fact, Google is not the only Big Tech to face shady monopoly practice accusations lately. Facebook's acquisition spree of WhatsApp and Instagram has resulted in the company being sued by a coalition of 48 states in the US. Last December, the 48 states filed a parallel lawsuit against Facebook and accused the social media behemoth of crushing its rivals intentionally.
What Are Cookies?
An HTTP cookie is a tiny bit of data stored on users' desktops by the browser while surfing on the net. Cookies are designed to record the user's track while browsing to remember stateful information, like login credentials, click history, and items added to the shopping cart.
Cookies are not entirely a bad thing, as it helps users get the best experience on the internet. For example, without cookies, shopping carts would always reset to zero every time a user clicks on a new link on the site.
Unfortunately, things get hairy when it comes to third-party cookies. Third-party cookies, however, do not belong to the website that the user is currently browsing. This sort of cookie appears on webpages that feature banner advertisements, which opens up tracking the user's browsing history, hence targeting ads.
What's concerning for many is that some malicious computer viruses are disguised as third-party cookies, leaving many devices vulnerable.